Fabiano: I hope not, because that’s probably the end of humanity, at least creatively. In my lifetime I don’t think we’ll see that. I recall a study where AI created a film, and it was just nonsense. It’s just not there yet. Eventually, down the road, the possibilities for AI are endless. We already have nanomachines that can build other nanomachines. Putting AI behind them to build and create, the strides we’re making in terms of free thought and free will—these are really philosophical discussions that need to be had. It’s not as simple as just asking whether it will or won’t happen.
Technologically, will it happen? I don’t know. Potentially. Would it be a world I want to live in? It’s kind of scary.
GamesBeat: I know a lot of leaders in the industry who are committing themselves to supporting A.I. that enhances humanity, without replacing it.
Question: There are gaming meetups around Tokyo where game developers get together, but I still don’t see many people from bigger companies like Capcom. Why is that?
Fabiano: I have a lot of friends at indie developers, actually. I know that Kyoto has a big indie scene. I know a lot of those guys and we talk on a regular basis, so sometimes for me it just doesn’t make sense, speaking personally, to go out to events. Sometimes the impression I get—it really depends on which event you’re talking about. At an event with more name value, you’ll see more top—I think that Capcom, and especially me personally, it doesn’t matter if someone’s from a big company or an indie company. I want to talk to people who I can have a good conversation with. Maybe awareness is a problem, potentially. I don’t know how you’re getting your name out there or how big these events are.
If you spread the word at something like GDC Osaka, I’m sure you’d get people, because those events already have big brands behind them. Something smaller, it’s going to be harder to attract people, because there are so many different events already happening.
You have to remember, we also have budgets. If I have to go to another event, I need to say, “Well, I can’t go to this thing because I’m going to that thing.” That starts to get into other questions, but it’s something we have to consider. So awareness, timing, all of that is going to be very important if you want to get people to come to your event.
GamesBeat: I’d encourage you to keep going with your meetups and maintaining your openness. Even if big companies don’t show up–in Silicon Valley the most famous group of all was the Homebrew Computer Club, which eventually created Apple.
Fabiano: Also, another thing to consider is BitSummit, especially for indie companies. BitSummit, year over year, is getting bigger and bigger and building more name value. Sony goes there. Microsoft sometimes sends someone. You’re going to see bigger names there, and more developers every year. Nintendo came this year, which is huge.
Question: I live in Osaka, where Capcom is headquartered. What brought you there, and what do you think about Osaka’s potential in the game industry?
Fabiano: The first time I came to Japan was in 1995. I was an exchange student at Kansai Gaidai in Hirakata. I did that for six months, and I just fell in love with the people. I really liked being here. It was almost like a fantasy world. I moved back to the states, graduated, and decided to come back. I lived in Osaka for three years and liked it very much, but after that I decided it was time to go home and moved back to the U.S.
I came back again to go to graduate school in Kobe. When I graduated, I lived in Tokyo for two years, but I always liked Osaka. The reason why, I think the people tend to be more open. They have a different mindset. It’s more community-based. I think Tokyo has so many people from so many areas that it doesn’t build that same sense of community. That’s one of the strengths of Osaka. As a foreigner living in Osaka and being around so many other foreign people, they all seemed to like Kansai because of that openness. Maybe history is part of that, the city’s merchant history. The going out of their way, the food, everything.
Osaka has a lot of intelligent people. There’s a lot of talent here. It’s much cheaper than Tokyo. A lot of development can happen in Osaka. If you look to the west, a lot of western companies are starting to be interested in Osaka. “Wait a minute. It’s cheaper than Tokyo, but there’s still a lot of talent.” The problem is that a lot of Japanese people want to move to Tokyo. If you can find a balance there, things would work out, because Osaka is a place with a lot of talent and potential.
Again, as I said, there’s a different way of thinking here. It’s a proving ground for talent that’s not just business-oriented, but also people who are thinking about play and fun and creativity. Not to say that that doesn’t happen in Tokyo, but there’s definitely some talent for that here. We’re hiring every year and we always bring in new talent. The industry at large in Japan needs to grow faster. I think that’s a larger problem. But Osaka still has potential there.
Disclosure: The Canadian government paid my way to Japan. Our coverage remains objective.